« PreviousContinue »
TENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
The tenth annual convention of the Association of Manufacturers met in Atlanta, Georgia, on the 16th of May. We understand the meeting was very successful in every way from their standpoint. The great feature of their meeting-perhaps the principal idea of the meeting — was the address of its president, D. M. Parry, and it is of that address we want to speak. After paying a pretty and merited compliment to the beautiful city of Atlanta, the masterful eloquence of the lamented Henry W. Grady and others, he launched forth upon the topic that has made his name a household word in the ranks of organized labor-1 name suggesting intolerance, egotism, narrowness, and obstinacy.
The perversity of the man is well shown in the following extract from what he had to say about socialism as applied to organized labor: “Before proceeding to
a brief consideration of the labor question, I wish to make a few statements respecting the tendency toward socialism which at this time is being strongly manifested in many ways.
The socialistic party and organized labor composed of over two million employes arrayed in opposition to individualism continues, according to reports of its officials, to increase its membership. The growth of an avowedly socialistic party and of organized labor, with its present creed, is certainly a sinister fact to all loyal citizens who understand and appreciate the importance of individual liberty. But the existence of these
organizations is indicative of a serious defection from the individualistic principle, by certain classes A notable speaker recently declared that the country had reached a stage in its history of public clamor against capital'. This may have been stating the situation too strongly, but there is no question that thousands of well-meaning citizens have become enamored of socialistic
remedies for real and imaginary evils in the state.
“One would naturally suppose that after a hundred years and more. of individualism the great body of the American people would know what it means, but that many of them do not realize or appreciate its full significance is shown by their belief that private ownership in capital may be limited or abolished without evil effect upon their free institutions or the material welfare of the people. Private ownership of capital is in fact a necessary feature of individualism and of present day civilization. Unless the individual enjoys a title in fee-simple to his labor and the fruits of his labor, that is, unless he is able to reap the rewards of his abilities and energies, he is not a freeman, but a slave.
Private ownership in property is thus seen to be a direct deduction from the principle of individual liberty. The effects of private management ownership of capital on the advancement of civilization have been of the first importance. It has not only furnished a necessary spur for the development of the individual, but it has also resulted in the accumulation of capital and its maximum employment in the production of wealth, thereby serving as the principal lever for raising mankind to higher planes of material prosperity and civilization. To destroy private ownership is to establish socialism, and socialism
the deterioration of the individual, the dissipation of capital and the establishment of despotism.
“The agitation for the supplanting of private control over capital appears to disclose two distinct methods for the accomplishment of its object. One is that of confiscation—the passage of legislative enactments and the adoption of other means to reduce profits and to limit private management of capital. The other is that of acquiring govern
control through purchase from
the present individual
The fiscation of socialistic attempts by confirst of these methods is the one more fiscation. Still another illustration of commonly advocated and is the more this kind of socialistic propositions, and reprehensible and dangerous of the two. one which does not proceed from orBoth methods, however, are open to ganized labor, is the pending national the general objections that can be urged legislation to have the government fix against socialism.
railroad rates. “That form of socialistic endeavor “Thousands of well-disposed men, who which seeks government control of would not think of injuring the interests capital by purchase is better stated, of their fellow-beings by their vote, have perhaps, as an effort to obtain the been led by these demagogues and false public management of capital rather teachers into the belief that they are than its ownership. It is supposed, in some inscrutible manner being robbed however, by its advocates that the by the rich, and they, therefore, are debts incurred by the government would not to be morally censured for taking ultimately be paid by it through profit up with socialistic propositions. derived from its enterprises. At the "Since the socialistic tendency is to present time efforts for this kind of be attributed to ignorance rather than socialism are limited to the acquirement dishonesty on the part of many voters, by the government of public utilities. the problem of protecting individualism
“Attempts in the line of municipal resolves itself down to a problem of eduownership have for the most part re- cating the voting masses. sulted unfavorably to the claims made
This in the face of the well known by its advocates. If the people of this fact, to him, and to all others who keep country value their liberities they will abreast of the times, of the practically go far before attempting to take the unanimous rejection of all and every control of capital out of private hands socialistic idea advocated by isolated even to a modern degree.
members of the American Federation, “I believe the sentiment favorable in every one of its conventions in recent to socialistic measures involving the years.
And in all other conventions .confication of profits and the limitation of organized labor the subject is never of private management of capital is the even mentioned, so very, very few memmore widespread and dangerous. With- bers there are who are at all affected out making special reference to the aim by the socialistic absurdities. It will be of the avowed socialists to bring about seen by the above extract, also, how the millennium through undisguised intimately and confusingly truth and confiscation, we have organized labor are intermingled, and no other and its sympathizers supporting the conclusion seems to be possible but that idea that organizations of men may it is done so by deliberate and studied dictate to a large extent the management
intention. While the practically unaniof enterprises which they do not mous sentiment of organized labor will Besides assuming to say how much readily coincide with his views on sowages the employer shall pay and how cialism, they also know that a linking he shall manage his capital in other of the two in mutual action or thought respects, the union also presumes to is most unpardonable assumption. deny the right of the individual to the Not only does Mr. Parry know this, but full control of his own labor, determin- he also knows that the increasing ining for him the rate of wages for which crement of education in our country he shall work, the number of hours he tends surely and naturally away from shall employ himself and the maximum the curse and blight of the socialistic amount of daily output he shall produce. perdition he would have us believe is As eight-hour and anti-injunction legis- soon to overtake us. Finally, he takes lation is designed to assist the unions in a grain of comfort to himself and voices the accomplishment of these objects it to the effect that “organized labor these measures fall under the classi- was less strenuous in the past year in
its socialistic endeavors than in the several years immediately preceding." Of course we do not take that as a sop thrown to us, but as a self-felicitation on the good accomplished by efforts of the Manufacturers' Association.
All credit for the defeat of the eighthour and anti-injunction bills by the last Congress is accorded to the influence of the members of the Manufacturers' Association, and further credit is given to it as follows:
“With strikes less numerous, the laws bettered, obeyed and enforced, and the power of labor lobbies considerably checked, the value of this association's activity on the labor question is emphatically demonstrated. The policy taken by the association in demanding a full recognition from organized labor of the individualistic principles of our government is the only policy which will establish and maintain industrial peace. Peace is utterly impossible so long as it is attempted to make the rights of employer and employe the subject of dickering and trials of strength.
“Every man is a self governing unit. He may worship as he pleases, he may vote as he pleases, he may entertain whatever opinion he pleases, he may eat and drink what he pleases, he may work where and how he pleases and for what he pleases, and he may dispose of his time and his property in any manner he pleases, but none of his acts shall be such as will limit or prevent others from exercising the same liberty which he himself enjoys.
“Some socialists attempt to argue that when the government acts as policeman it is abridging individual rights, and that if it can forbid murder, for example, it can with equal reason compel th individual to give up the product of his labor to the state and make them eat out of a common crib. But this is not good logic. Liberty does not mean license. Liberty means that each individual shall exercise his own rights, but shall not infringe on the rights of others. To permit him to prevent others from enjoying their liberties is to grant him license and not liberty.
To interdict the taking of life, for example, is not placing a limitation on individual liberty, but is in fact an assertion of the rights of all individuals to life.”
Perhaps the statement made by Mr. Parry which is so far from the truth as to seem ridiculous, is as follows:
“The leaders of organized labor, with surprising unanimity, base their claims on an argument similar to that of the socialist. They say, for example, that since the government can limit individual independence by compelling children to go to school and factory owners to provide safety appliances to minimize the danger to life, it is also valid to compel a workman to belong to the union. It is for the general good, they argue, that children be forced to go to school and that safety appliances be required, and then they add that it is also for the general good that workmen be forced to belong to the union. The argument will not bear analysis. The governmerit may require compulsory education, but it does this for the protection of the child's rights. Safety appliances may be required in order to protect the right to life. But to draw the conclusion from these acts of the government that it is also valid to compel the workmen to join organized labor on the ground that organized labor advances the general good of labor is not a valid argument. In fact such logic would do credit to the Russian autocracy. The reasoning of the labor leaders implies the gratuitous and unproved assertion that the individual workman is incapable of looking after his own affairs and should therefore be placed under their guardianship. The argument of these labor leaders is the argument of despotism. It is a denial of individual freedom. They boldly assert that no workman has a moral right to sell his labor where he pleases, but that he must first consult them and do as they command. Either there is individual freedom or there is not. If there is individual freedom it cannot be subject to the whims of labor leaders. It must not be taken away from any man, no matter how humble he be, at
the dictation of any organization, or even by government itself.
Not content, however, with the abovequoted ravings, Mr. Parry conjures from the dark realms of his vivid and fertile imagination the following blood-curdling, cold-sweat-producing vision, and frees his mind of the horrible phantasmagoria of organized labor in the following venomous falsities, half-truths, and a mixture of truth with them, that we feel safe in saying are the chief dangers of the influence of this man, and those who follow him. It should ever be borne in mind when reading Mr. Parry's writings or listening to his talk, that half-truths are almost always worse than actual full-grown lies, and he is certainly a past-master in the art of mixing truth and falsehood.
“Now as to the claim that organized labor is necessary for the protection of labor's welfare. Standing for certain ideas and ends, organized labor might become of much benefit to labor. With its present objects and policies, however, there is no question but that it works immeasurably more harm to the best interests of labor than it accomplishes good. It preaches disrespect for law, inveighs against the militia and the courts, wages
warfare industry, denies industrial training to the youth, limits individual output and conspires in various ways to injure or punish those who will not obey its rule. But, above all, it seeks to overthrow individual initiative, the thing which more than to any other is
high material development. It is throughly saturated with the socialistic creed that the individual has no rights which
a collective capacity need recognize.
It does not seem to appreciate that in this country the individual is the sovereign and that the government is his servant, not his master. Its whole system of beliefs and policies means but one thing, and that is the establishment of a power that shall be master over the individual. If the union aimed to be the servant of the workman and not
his master there would be a different story to tell.
"Perhaps the day is gradually coming when organizad labor will realize the fatal
it is making Current events appear, in fact, to be forcing its reformation. Sooner or later it must
that it cannot make headway against the individualistic character of our institutions. Let it abandon its closedshop warfare and recognize that the workman cannot be converted into an automaton to do its bidding.
“But so long as it persists in its present reunion policies it must be opposed. There is no other alternative for those who believe in the perpetuation of individualism. That unionism
at present conducted is a grave menace to the nation is apparent from a moment's consideration of its numerical and financial strength. The membership of the American Federation of Labor is at present 1,750,000. Organizations dependent of that body increase the army of unionism to approximately the two-million mark. Millions of dollars annually go into the treasuries of the several thousand subordinate unions. Some of the organizations have large funds on deposit in banks, in several instances running over a million dollars. These figures prove that organized labor is a powerful institution, one that challenges our most serious consideration. So long as it stands for the waging of strikes, for the restriction of output, and for other limitations upon individual initiative; so long as it seeks to build up labor monopoly at the expense of all the rest of the people, and to establish the closed-shop despotism under which employers and employes must alike obey its rule, its growing power must excite grave apprehension. The workmen of the country must be shown that the creed of organized labor endangers their own freedom, and that if the policies of their organization were successful it would result disastrously not only to their independence but also to their material prosperity. In this land of individual initiative the common people are better fed,
better clothed, are less chained down by drudgery, experience more of the enjoyments of life, and are the most intelligent of any of the nations on earth. Wages are from two to five times the
rates in European countries. Why is this?"
One mighty good answer to the question is that the genus Parry has never before waged warfare on those wages.
PENDING LEGISLATION BEFORE CONGRESS.
We have been requested to reprint the engines, appliances, machinery, track, bill printed in the January issue, and roadbed, ways, or work. hereunder will be found not only the “Sec. 2. That in all actions hereafter bill but the editorial comments made brought against any such at that time. As suggested, it is possible carriers by railroad to recover damages all members of organized labor do not for personal injuries to an employe, realize the vast amount of good help or where such injuries have resulted in they can offer towards getting this bill his death, the fact that the employe passed, or the great importance of the may have been guilty of contributory It seems as if much good negligence shall not bar
recovery could be accomplished by the members where his contributory negligence was of the different organizations if they slight in comparison to that of the emwould simply deluge the Representa ployer. tives from their districts and the Senators “Sec. 3. That no contract of employfrom their states with requests for its ment, insurance, relief benefit, or indempassage.
nity for injury or death entered into by “A BILL-Relating to liability of com or on behalf of any employe, nor the ac
mon carriers by railroads in the Dis ceptance of any such insurance, relief trict of Columbia and Territories and benefits, or indemnity by the person encommon carriers by railroads engaged titled thereto shall constitute any bar or in commerce between the States and defense to any action brought to recover between the States and foreign nations damages for personal injuries to or to their employes.
death of such employe: Provided, how“Be it enacted by the Senate and House ever, That upon the trial of such action of Representatives of the United States of against any such common carrier by America in Congress assembled, That railroad the defendant may every common carrier by railroad en
sum it has contributed gaged in trade or commerce in the toward any such insurance, relief, beneDistrict of Columbia, or in any Terri fit, or indemnity that may have been tory of the United States, or between the paid to the injured employe, or, in case several States, or between any Territory of his death, to his heirs at law. and another, or between any Territory “Sec. 4. That nothing in this act or Territories and any State or States, shall be held to limit the duty of common or the District of Columbia, or with carriers by railroads or impair the rights foreign nations, or between the District of their employes under the safety of Columbia and any State or States or appliance Act of March second, eighteen foreign nations, shall be liable to any hundred and ninety-three, as amended of its employes, or, in the case of his April first, eighteen hundred and ninetydeath, to his heirs at law, for all damages six, and March second, nineteen hunwhich may result from the negligence dred and three." or mismanagement of any of its officers, We call attention to the above bill in agents, or employes, or by reason of the hope that members and Divisions any defect or insufficiency in its cars, will use their influence with their Sena